Every mother will tell you there was something she swore she’d never do as a mom and laughs at how motherhood has a sense of humor when you say “never’. For me it was thinking getting a babysitter was easy. I still laugh as I type that! Recently though, pregnant with my third, it was the whole “gender disappointment” I thought was a hoax. Maybe it’s because we try to adhere to a more fluid idea of gender and work to unearth gender stereotypes. While not fully non-binary, in our family we believe the child decides the gender. Well the universe took that one and humbled me yet again.
With both our son and daughter I felt very strongly what their sex was and was correct both times. This time I felt for sure it was another girl. All of my cravings were the same as my pregnancy with O, baby’s heartbeat was high, and I had had a dream, as I always do, it was a girl. Our 13 week scan rolled around and since this was a happy surprise third baby, I agreed to take the element of surprise out of the sex of the baby. And there it was: 98% sure a boy! I got real quiet and once home broke down in tears and actually found myself tearful a number of times that week. But why would I be so upset over a simple piece of genitalia, when I know deep down this little one will be the one to truly decide who they are. Maybe this is this one’s way of saying hey mama I may have boy parts, but really I identify as a girl? But as I dug deeper and took a day to disconnect, take the older kiddos hiking and get grounded I realized the root of this disappointment was actually really fear.
Thankfully after years of therapy deconstructing everything around T’s premature birth and NICU stay, rocky first year and the PTSD/PPA that resulted, I have learned the tools my therapist has offered of when to pull on those threads and when to determine what thoughts are anxiety and what are legit concerns. The fear I was staring at was all the little bits I had not faced from all that baggage of T’s birth. It was the script I had written in my head for 4 years now that my body is incapable of growing boys to term. That script was then “supported” by O being a girl and being term at 38 weeks. Some of that comes from the millions of theories of why T was born early, which my therapist reminds me time and time again, is just that: a theory. This particular one was that my short torso and small frame can’t carry larger babies and boys tending to be larger (longer, etc.) means I’ll inevitably go into preterm labor with boys always. Sounds so silly typing it all out now! After talking with dear friends and my mom I realized how far fetched these fears really were and reminded that I have an awesome team of doctors and midwives ensuring I get as close to term as possible. For those that don’t know what that looks like it means duel care of prenatal care with the midwives at Special Beginnings and care starting at 13 weeks with maternal fetal medicine specialists (i.e. checking cervical length every other week and getting progesterone shots weekly starting at 16 weeks).
Now that we have it confirmed with the most recent scan that yes indeed baby’s sex is still male, I have completely come to peace with having another boy. I realize nothing would be more perfect for our family and for our last baby. With O’s fierce spirit, she needed to be the only girl keeping her brothers in line! As with each child I find they give me the gift of more lessons learned, and this sweet one I believe is teaching me to finally fully trust myself, my body and baby. The name we have picked out really brings everything full circle and is a reminder that this little one is exactly what our family needed, whether we realized it or not! And something tells me that this one has their dad’s knack for mischief, from sneaking into my uterus, to surprising us with their sex and just watch they’ll be the only one who gets to their due date. Thank you little one for all that you’re already humbly teaching me.